Date of Award

Summer 5-7-2018

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Education (EdD)


Organizational Leadership

First Advisor

Julia Hadden

Second Advisor

Doug DeVore

Third Advisor

Jonathan Greenberg


Purpose: The purpose of this study was to explore and describe the changes made in mindset, behaviors, culture, and systems as perceived by K-12 school district directors and principals in California in the implementation of the California Common Core State Standards (CCSS).

Methods: This study was descriptive and qualitative, conducted by interviewing 8 principals and 8 directors who have been in their positions for 3 or more years, had first-hand experience with the implementation of the California Common Core State Standards (CCSS), and were familiar with the shifts needed in CCSS. The interviews were recorded, transcribed, coded, and analyzed for patterns and themes. The study used Ackerman Anderson and Anderson’s conscious leader accountability model integrated with their change leader’s roadmap model for leading transformation.

Findings: Six themes were discovered as common between principals and directors in the 4 domains. In mindsets, both principals and directors mentioned allowing mistakes and taking risks. In behaviors, it was collaboration and leadership for the/by many. The principals connected collaboration with support, while the director highlighted collaboration and teamwork. In culture, the principals mentioned the cycle of inquiry as a new culture, and with a similar theme, directors shared the need for continuous improvement. Leadership was a common theme between the two sets of participants. Directors mentioned leadership by many, and principals said leadership is for the many. In systems, both principals and directors shared that the districts’ providing professional development was a new system.

Conclusions: The findings and literature support that CCSS was a second-order change handled by many as a first-order change. CCSS was meant to be a transformation change in the educational system in California, and yet only developmental changes were attempted. There are various styles of leadership, and those are not clear to many educators. As part of the CCSS implementation, gaining the trust of teachers was not intentional.

Recommendations: Educators should be trained in the theories of educational change processes in order to effectively implement transformational reforms. The leadership development of educators needs to include the various types of leadership styles and how to be a change agent when needed.